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I live in a tiny room in my parents’ house. I have a bed that can only fit one person. Beside it is a table with balms, books, and devotionals. I also have a study. It occupies the same amount of space as my bed. My study is blank except that there are books stacked on one side. Beside it is a bookshelf with titles that went through careful discernment. I take pride in my Didions. I needed more space for my books that’s why I don’t have a cabinet for my clothes. I don’t even read that much.

My room is known to be the cleanest and the quietest. Mostly because it is only occupied with a cat that creates no mess and no sound. But in different days, I play smooth 70s music or romantic comedy soundtracks. I love pretending I’m Julia Roberts. I am my mother’s daughter.

I’ve always lived in my parents’ house. But it wasn’t until university (where I studied philosophy) that I’ve lived beyond the house. This became more pronounced when I left law school. I just knew I had to stand up for myself. It is tough specially with a hazy self-image. The problem which used to be just one doubled and I only have one hand for each. One, I had to stand up for my decisions. Two, I didn’t know who I was. Perhaps, all I knew was if there is one person that I should fight for, it shall be me. In decisions, good or bad. Indecision, in general.

I’ll be here until I marry. The difference though is that I am now capable of happiness beyond the house. It is a constant uprising. Too much commitment but I’d say, unlike before, I now know who I am. The only thing that I can get a good grip of when things become turbulent.

Then again, this woman is not one-dimensional. She is a tesseract. This confession is only the beginning. Here, let me quote something that brought tears to my eyes this morning:

The father wants his daughter to be a weather girl on television, or to marry and have babies. She doesn’t want to be a TV weather girl. Nor does she want to marry and have babies. Not yet. Maybe later, but there are so many other things she must do in her lifetime first. Travel. Learn how to dance tango. Publish a book. Live in other cities. Win a National Endowment for the Arts awards. See the Northern Lights. Jump out of a cake. – Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street

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The other night was unthinkable.

I could not grasp everything all at once. But I remember that feeling in my heart. That feeling that you get before you cry. I was standing very close to Explosions in the Sky and it was just too much to take in. I never even imagined that a day would come when I can finally tell myself that they are actual people. When the yellow light hit my eyes, they all looked lined with strokes of neon purple. Think Tron. For every unexpected silence in between loud guitar sounds, I felt happy I am alive. I thanked God I am alive. I believed in God. All this while holding back tears. I believe tears make me very human when I hold them back. I do not want to free them because I simply want to keep all the joy in my heart. To feel all my emotions. To let my emotions engulf this vessel I often criticize and ridicule, my body, with warmth. Like hugging myself from the inside.

I stood there in the middle of a crowd attached to their other lives, phones up. As if all the radiation caused by the electricness of musical genius was not enough.

The Temper Trap played at almost two in the morning. All the bodies were tired and aching. My body was asserting its limitations. I was hungry, exhausted, gassy, and sleepy. I could cry. But the first incomprehensible chords reeking through the sound system set me so free. It felt like the beginning of a reckoning point, the end of a learning curve that somehow went on and on.

They were in front of me. Doing their art like how they do it for themselves. Dancing to the beat of their own songs. I was so happy to be alive. I held Dougy’s hand before they finished the night.

I lost my phone. I left it in the plane and I figured someone else took it. All of my demos are there. So I guess I’ll just rely on my memory when Alvin and I finally come into terms with our laziness. I can’t wait to fuck things up. One day I would dance to the beat of my own songs. The dream is to move others to dance to the beat of their own songs, too.

Freedom is free. We should all pay it forward.

To freedom.

“I really believe that, in time, people will bloom. I believe that we really are bound to be amazing at something and we do not even have to try.”

On this day last year, I wrote those words on my journal. When I read them today, I felt a slight pinch in my heart. There were tears too but they didn’t come out.

I am writing here in a restaurant on a cliff, overlooking the sea. A bit scattered, I must say. While being away from home really makes me more centered and insightful, it really takes a while. But I do feel less all over the place now. Ironically, I’m leaving tomorrow. Nonetheless, this island has been so good to me.

For the past days, I just did things that I authentically like. I did yoga, sat in cafés to read and write, stayed in bed and just listened to music waiting for the sun to be less harmful so I can read by the beach. I wore clothes that make me feel a lot like myself, too. It’s nice. I went here with no real plans but I’m fine. Pretty well, actually. On September 30, I wrote: I wish people feel this feeling in my heart. At the right time. Everyone deserves to be loved by themselves.

Come Tuesday I will go back to work. But as the semester is reaching its end, I can say that it doesn’t feel like work at all. I teach Philosophy, if you may ask.

I’m dead sure some hippie already said this but let me say it again. Your demeanor towards the Universe will boomerang back to you.

For some weird reason, I always come across things that tell me, this is to be succinct, to just stay where I am. Do not struggle. Work with your essence. I have come across the Taoist concept of Wu Wei which means do without doing. And just yesterday, Barbara told us to stop stressing over something we cannot do and then compare ourselves to those who can. Because after all, those people went through a lot to get to that point and we have no idea about their process. I also read about this Tao notion, Uncarved Block. Ultimately, the question it seeks to ask is this: Why do we put square pegs on round holes? That is to be simple and childlike, though.

With all the changes that’s happening around and within me, I do have a vague sense of who I really am. And I can confirm this when I feel genuine happiness, contentment, and pride from doing things I chose for myself. You know, that feeling you get when you make a decision without actually thinking through it and it turned out to be such a good one. Yes. That.

“Do not think too much.” Sanchia told me while we were cruising around Chiang Mai in our bikes back in August. I liked that. There’s a level of comfort there. That after all it’s possible not to think too much and remain fine. Perfect, I must say.

I do hope that one day, we all choose to stay with who we really are. But sometimes if we get too detached, the world will forsake us because it is problematic and it needs us to solve its problems. In the process, we might get too jaded.

But you know what’s good about staying still and afloat with your core? You know your way. And you’ll be fine.

 

Note: From my journal, written on the 2nd of October.